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Give a Lump of Coal for Christmas

Updated on December 3, 2013

DIY Coal Gifts for Christmas for The Naughty Ones

Traditionally lumps of coal or was the gift given to children who have been naughty. In the past several years this holiday tradition has taken on a bit of a twist, with people giving lumps of coal to each other for fun or as a way of indicating displeasure.

Children (and pets) may be given lumps of coal from their parents or their teachers to indicate that they've been misbehaving. Coal lumps may be given to bosses, colleagues and politicians anonymously to indicate frustration, disapproval or anger over the job they are doing.

Finally lumps of coal, particularly candy lumps of coal are given between couples who are dating or married to indicate someone has been "naughty" in a different sense of the word.

In this lens you'll find a collection of humorous coal gifts to give and easy ones to make. It is a gift and do-it-yourself craft lens all rolled into one. Some of the craft ideas may be fun and easy ones to do with children in the classrooms, so they can give their own lumps of coal to friends and family members.

Stocking from LeoSynapse and coal candy available on Amazon.

A Lump of Coal Gift

Image by John Joh
Image by John Joh

The Lump of Coal Gift by John Joh.

Image by
Image by

Tradition of Giving a Lump of Coal

Traditionally lumps of coal were put into the stockings of those children who misbehaved during the year to indicate that the child or person deserves nothing more than a coal.

Ironically according to others, when many families were poor, finding a lump of coal in the ashes of your fireplace was actually good luck, since it meant it would be a warm Christmas.

Wikipedia has this to say about the tradition of giving a lump of coal, "a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a piece of coal.

However, coal is rarely left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel."

In some family traditions the lump of coal may be place in the bottom of the stockings underneath the toys and candy as a reminder to children that Santa realized they are sometimes misbehaving.

Lump of Coal by dyet with ribbon from Microsoft clipart.

Lump of Coal - Fun or Mean Spirited?

What do you think about giving a lump of coal?

Vote on Giving Lump of Coal Gifts

Who do you want to give a lump of coal to this year?

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Will you get a lump of coal this year for being Naughty?

DIY Lump of Coal

Make Your Own Lump of Coal Bag

Making your own lump of coal bag is pretty simple. You need:

  • * Muslin or fabric bag
  • * Black licorice in chunks
Simply put the licorice in the fabric bag and add a gift tag to indicate why the person is getting git of coal. One rhyming quote that could be used,

  • "Don't bother looking twice,
  • You got this coal because you've been naughty instead of nice."
You could also decorate or print coal on the bag, if you want to make it more festive.

We've got licorice and muslin bags in the house so could easily make up several lump of coal bags to give as humorous gifts for this Christmas.

Muslin Bags for Making a Lump of Coal

Muslin Bags in varying sizes. Add your favorite coal candy, gum or fake coal and you have your own Lump of Coal gift bag.

Image by by Rhonlynn
Image by by Rhonlynn

Knit or Crochet a Lump of Coal

I think Grumpy, the Lump of Coal Pattern from KnitPicks is one of the funniest looking amigurumi critters that I've seen. The pattern knits up quickly and uses a small amount of yarn, so many knitted lumps of coal can be made from a single skein of yarn.

The link to the free pattern for the Grumpy, the Lump of Coal can be found below.

Another option is to crochet a Lump of Coal. On Etsy you can find a pre-made crochet Frowny Lump of Coal and order your own or crochet a lump of coal out of black yarn.

Grumpy Lump of Coal by Rhonlynn

Knit Grumpy, the Lump of Coal Pattern

A free knit pattern from KnitPicks, so you can knit your own lump of coal.

Lump of Coal Gift Box - from Martha Stewart Crafts

Leave it to Martha Steward to come up with a creative way of gifting using a box shaped like a lump of coal.

On her website you will find how to take gift boxes and embellish them with paint, paper and black glitter to turn them into fabulous lumps of coal for gift giving.

Martha writes that "the faux-coal pieces are just the right size to package earrings, a rolled-up tie, and other small gifts."

You can find pictures of the boxes along with the directions for making the her Lump of Coal Gift box by following the link below to the Martha Stewart website.

Papier-Mache Mini Hexagon Box

Start with one of these hexagon boxes or a square box to make the Martha Steward inspired Lump of Coal gift box.

If you need a larger gift box, start with a larger paper mache box and adjust the directions accordingly.

Chenille Kraft 441950 Papier-Mache Hexagon Mini Box, 2-7/8" x 1-1/2" Size, Brown
Chenille Kraft 441950 Papier-Mache Hexagon Mini Box, 2-7/8" x 1-1/2" Size, Brown

This paper mache mini hexagon box is the type used in Martha Stewards Lump of Coal gift box project.

Measures 3.2 x 3.2 x 1.5 inches


Bags of Coal Candy

Bags of Coal Candy

With Coal Candy receivers won't mind receiving this bag of coal in their stockings.

Make a Bucket Full of Coal Gift

Large Coal Filled Tin Bucket

Large Coal Filled Tin Bucket
Large Coal Filled Tin Bucket

Rustic Tin Bucket filled with 12 oz. Chocolate Coal Candy.


Make Your Own Coal Filled Bucket

Making your own candy coal filled bucket is simple. You need:

  • * Galvanized pail
  • * Black licorice in chunks or chocolate coal candy
  • * Gift Basket Plastic Wrap
  • * Red Ribbon
Start by put the licorice and/or chocolate coal candy in the fabric bag. (Put in some stuffing at the bottom of the pail, if you don't want to fill it all the way with candy.)

Wrap up the bag in plastic wrap or cellophane wrap.

Add a red bow.

Add a gift tag to indicate why the person is getting git of coal.

You've created your own gift coal bucket.

Lump of Coal Soap

Lump of Coal Christmas Soap

Lump of Coal Soap
Lump of Coal Soap

This lump of coal gift bag contains a coal lump soap made from natural ingredients and scented with cinnamon and clove oil.

The soap weighs approx. 4.5 ounces and can be used as either a hand or body soap.


Make Your Own Coal Soap Bag

Making your own lump of coal soap bag is very similar to making the lump of coal candy bag. You can make it as fancy or as basic as desired simply by varying the type of bag that is used. (For muslin bags see the earlier module).

To make the coal soap bag you need:

  • * Muslin, fabric organza bag
  • * Black soap
Simply put the soap in the fabric bag, tie it up and add a gift tag to indicate why the person is getting git of coal.

Using Japanese charcoal soap helps to draw impurities away, stimulate circulation and retain natural moisture. The soap may be something that can be used, while still getting the message across about the lump of coal.

Coal Soaps to Make Your Own Coal Bag

Soap Works - Soothing, Old Fashioned Recipe Bar Soap for Dry and Itchy Skin - Coal Tar
Soap Works - Soothing, Old Fashioned Recipe Bar Soap for Dry and Itchy Skin - Coal Tar

Add the coal tar soap to a bag for a bag of coal that is functional.


Coal Molds on eBay

For the more ambitious use the coal molds to make your own coal soap or candy mold.

Make Your Own Lump of Coal Soap

FreeXmasCrafts shares how to make your own lump of coal soap to give as a fun Christmas gift for the naughty people on your list.

Lump of Coal Soap Tutorial

Learn how to make your own lump of coal soap for inexpensive Christmas gifts.

Lump of Coal Stress Toy

Gift Bags of Coal

Stocking Stuffers

Lump of Coal Bags Set

Lump of Coal Costume Accessory
Lump of Coal Costume Accessory

One of each "You've been Naughty" and "Merry Christmas"


Drink Your Lump of Coal

Image by Peyri
Image by Peyri

Much More than You Deserve for Christmas This Year by Peyri

Lump of Coal Books

The Lump of Coal

The Lump of Coal
The Lump of Coal

In The Lump of Coal readers follow the adventures of an anthropomorphic lump of coal with a dream. The small, flammable hero meets his share of naysayers and phonies on his quest to be an artist.

For Ages 9-12


Lump of Coal Game

Lumps, the Elf Coal Game

Lumps, the Elf Coal Game (2nd Edition)
Lumps, the Elf Coal Game (2nd Edition)

A whimsical way to give someone coal in their stocking.

Winner of Creative Child Magazine's 2009 Preferred Choice Award

Manufacturer recommended age: 8 - 12 years


Coal Lump Ornament

Make a Lump of Coal Ornament or Paper Weight

Making your own lump of coal ornament is simple. You need:

  • * A lump of coal, or coal rock
  • * A screw eye ring
  • * Craft glue
  • * Red ribbon
Before deciding to turn a piece of coal into an ornament, decide if it will be too heavy to hang on the tree. You can still create an coal ornament to decoratively hang elsewhere.

To make the ornament, start by carefully screwing in the eye ring. You may want to glue the eye ring into the coal rock, so it does not fall out.

Once dry, add a red ribbon and hang.

If you don't want to turn your coal rock into an ornament, simply tie a ribbon around it or stick a ribbon on it and you have a lump of coal paper weight.

History of the Lump of Coal Lens

An Original Squidoo's Holiday Gift Guide

This lens was part of Squidoo's Holiday Gift Guide with real recommendations for holiday gifts.

The guide allowed shippers to find a unique gift recommendation for the happiest people on your shopping list and make an instant (free) donation to charity at the same time.

The Holiday Elf guided the way to people's shopping experiences. and you'll know your shopping is making a difference.

The gift guide has been retired.

Have you ever given or received a lump of coal for Christmas?

Comments about Giving a Lump of Coal for Christmas

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    • chrisilouwho profile image


      5 years ago

      I always assumed this was symbolic, it's fun that there are so many gifts now!

    • HealthfulMD profile imageAUTHOR

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      @OhMe: It was fun looking for them. I think giving a lump of coal can be a fun tradition instead of a mean one.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wow, I had no idea there were so many Lump of Coal products.

    • HealthfulMD profile imageAUTHOR

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      @tonyleather: What a wonderful tradition.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Reminds me of my childhood, when dad always brought a lump of coal over the threshold on New Year morning, so that we would not know cold in that year!

    • HealthfulMD profile imageAUTHOR

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      @tonybonura: You are very right on this one.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      6 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I'll bet Tiny Tim and his family would have loved to receive lumps of coal. :-)


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Lens keeping the memory of coal, Your keeping our history alive with this Lens because no matter were we come from UK, or USA we would have needed coal years ago. Wonderful Lens again.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I guess I'm lucky, I've never received a lump of coal for Christmas.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      8 years ago

      I have not given or received a lump of coal ever. But I could give it a try this year just to see surprised faces of friends and relatives.

    • monarch13 profile image


      8 years ago


    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      8 years ago

      We have a decorated tin with a lump of coal inside that we put under the tree every year. I had no idea there were so many versions available. I like the crochet lump. That would be very cute tied to a package.

    • HealthfulMD profile imageAUTHOR

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      8 years ago from Northern California

      @ChemKnitsBlog2: I went back and edited the Discover Different Lumps of Coal to be sure to highlight the section on Knit or Crochet a Lump of Coal. I'd had the KnitPicks knitting pattern link included and also one that I found to a premade crochet version. I might make a few of the knitted versions myself this year.

    • hotbrain profile image


      8 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Congratulations on a great lens! I'm a Squidoo angel this month and I've blessed this page. I've never received a lump of coal... Not yet! Thanks for explaining all of the reasons you might give or receive coal. It is a funny Christmas gift.

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image


      8 years ago

      So In the past I've given HAND KNIT lumps of coal for the holidays! (I nearly died when I came across the pattern.) They make great ornaments :) I don't want to link drop, so you can search for a lump of coal at Knitpicks for the free knitting pattern.

    • jenms lm profile image

      Jen Schaefer 

      8 years ago from St Petersburg

      Who knew there were so many different types of coal gifts available for Christmas?? Cute lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have never even heard of giving a lump of coal for Christmas..nor received any so far. But this is an interesting concept with a fun twist

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 

      8 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      No! But your lens is making me think that there's always a first time to give/receive a lump of coal for Christmas. Seems like the reactions may prove unpredictable.


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